PHILIPSBURG TOWN COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
November 17th, 2020
7:00 P.M. Philipsburg Town Hall
Council in Attendance: Mayor Daniel Reddish, John Johnson, Derek Kuhl, DuWayne Ulrich, Scott Lyons (video), and Carl Sundstrom (video). Others in attendance: Town Clerk Reed Speegle, Director of Public Works Sam Dennis, Town Attorney Robert Medof, John Laigaie, Rick Johnson, and Jo Durgin.
John Laigaie had submitted a letter of interest to fill the vacant Council position. He gave some background on himself. Mayor Reddish asked him a few questions that had been prepared about his general qualifications and attitude towards serving on the Council. Councilman Johnson asked him a few questions about his firearms and that he carries openly. Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve John Laigaie to fill the vacant seat, Councilman Lyons seconded the motion. Councilmen Ulrich and Lyons voted in favor of the motion, Councilman Johnson voted against the motion, and Councilmen Sundstrom and Kuhl abstained from voting. Robert Medof said that a Council majority was needed to approve the motion therefore it did not pass.
Minutes of Prior Meetings
Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve the minutes from 11/3/20 with an edit from Councilman Sundstrom, Councilman Kuhl seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve the bills payable, Councilman Kuhl seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Horton Street Abandonment
The petitioners had coordinated with Robert Medof and provided the Council with an updated map of the proposed abandonment. Councilman Ulrich stated that he didn’t think the Town should be giving away property. Councilman Kuhl said that it was unlikely that the road would ever be rebuilt. Sam Dennis talked about the utilities currently and the potential for more in the future. He didn’t think it would be a good idea to approve the abandonment. Councilman Johnson made the motion to approve the abandonment and Councilman Kuhl seconded the motion. Mayor Reddish asked if the Council had any intention to add deed restrictions. Jo Durgin talked about her plans for developing her property. Councilman Sundstrom asked about how she planned to access the property. Councilmen Johnson, Kuhl, and Lyons voted in favor of the motion. Councilmen Sundstrom and Ulrich voted against the motion. The motion passed.
Phil Wolf – Well Variance Request
Mayor Reddish talked about getting on site and looking at the proposed land for the well variance request. He also discussed the fact that the Council was currently reviewing the Utility Inspection(UI) process. Councilman Ulrich made the motion to delay the decision until the spring when the Council had updated its’ UI process and Councilman Johnson seconded the motion. There was then a conversation between Phil Wolf and the Council. Phil said he intended to drill a well for irrigation on the property. The Council and Robert Medof suggested that he reach out to other property owners who would also connect to a main extension if that route was pushed forward. The original motion was then approved unanimously.
School Electric Contract
Robert Medof talked of his conversation with the school about the contract. Their only requests were to tie to the fiscal year instead of the annual year and to have access to records of the billing. There was no objection to these requests from the Council. Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve the contract, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Mask Mandate for Town Employees
Councilman Johnson wanted to put forth a mask mandate for Town employees while in contact with the public during working hours. Councilman Sundstrom was in favor of the mandate. Mayor Reddish gave his opinion on wearing masks and cited his own potential health concerns with wearing a mask. Mayor Reddish also noted that there may be another mandate from the Governor later in the week that overrules anything the Town does. Councilman Johnson made the motion to approve the mandate, Councilman Sundstrom seconded the motion. Councilman Lyons expressed his disagreement with the motion. Councilmen Johnson, Sundstrom, and Kuhl voted in favor of the motion. Councilmen Lyons and Ulrich voted against the motion. The motion passed by majority.
Amendment to Regulations for the Application and Review of Buildings for Lease or Rent Resolution
Mayor Reddish explained the resolution changed the amount of units on a single lot that required property owners to petition the Council for approval. The resolution would also adjust the application fee from $300 to $500. Robert Medof provided more clarification. Councilman Sundstrom asked to review the document further and potentially add language before approval. Councilman Johnson made the motion to table the resolution, Councilman Ulrich seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Finn Addition Update
Robert Medof said he had received a letter from the developer’s attorney Abigail St. Lawrence. The developers would be requesting an extension. There was a brief discussion on the timing of the extension. Mayor Reddish said he would be talking with the DEQ in the near future about the AOC and lagoon capacity.
UI Permit Changes
Mayor Reddish talked about the Town’s policy for landowners connecting to Town infrastructure. Robert Medof said it would be a good idea to consolidate the Town’s water and sewer policy. Mayor Reddish, Sam Dennis, and Robert Medof intended to get together again to discuss further details on the potential proposed changes.
Water/Sewer Ordinance Change
This was discussed in tandem with the previous agenda item.
MN Local Government Services Contract
Reed Speegle explained that this was to contract with Magda Nelson again to produce the Town’s AFR and to complete year-end closing for FY20. Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve the contract, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
Final Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) Resolution
Mayor Reddish read the resolution. Councilman Ulrich made the motion to approve the resolution, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.
NON AGENDA ITEMS
Councilman Kuhl said he had completed the digitization of the Town’s Ordinances.
Councilman Ulrich noted that the recreational marijuana ballot initiative had passed and that the Town would need to decide on how it would address this.
Councilman Johnson wanted to further discuss the Town’s firearms policy.
Public Comment on Matters within the Town Council’s Jurisdiction
Robert Medof read a letter he wrote stating his intention not to renew his contract with the Town.
Mayor Reddish thanked Robert and Councilman Kuhl for their time with the Town.
Mayor Reddish also informed the Council that the Town was ranked #1 in the State on its RD Grant application.
Councilman Ulrich made the motion to adjourn at 9:00 p.m., Councilman Johnson seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.